decision still stands as something of a judicial miracle. but the supreme court's decision in brown versus board of education was the result of careful planning and a careful strategy set forth by charles hamilton and enacted by houston and thurgood marshall. in 1935, walter white, who was the executive secretary of the naacp and truly an extraordinary character in his own right, an extraordinary american in his own right. he asked charles hamilton houston, please devise a strategy by which the naacp could seek to desegregate education and transportation in america. houston, who was at the time the most famous african-american lawyer in american history, and certainly the most educated
lawyer -- african-american lawyer in american history, but that the budget of $10,000 said, mr. white, unique to pick one or the other. so houston and white take education. charles hamilton houston was a graduate of amherst college in washington d.c., graduated from amherst at the age of 19, serves in the army and went on to arbor bosque will and he was the first african-american to serve on the harvard law review. he earned a doctorate of judicial science from harvard, studied into paying what he why he was at harvard law school and was very famous at this time because he had recently defended a very high-profile sensational murder defendant, out in rural virginia. he is widely known by americans across all races and classes at the time.
he wanted to attack segregation in the way that it works with the successful. the law of the land at the time was plessy versus ferguson, the 19th century supreme court decision that established the doctrine of separate but equal. and those words never appeared in the decisions to be sure, but the law was that the longest states, so long as the government provides separate and equal facilities for african-americans and for white americans, the constitution is satisfied. houston could not walk into court and ask the district judge to overturn separate but equal. it would not work. the district court judge first of all does not have the authority to do so. and secondly, it was with the individuals live their lives at the question became, how was he going to attack this? and i'd like to just briefly
read two paragraphs here. and i can say two paragraphs because the legal strategy was so brilliant in its simplicity that it can be summarized in a very short number of words. a lawyer's case is his chest. his win is the law that he you must put to his command. gifted attorneys sometimes persuade courts to extend existing law, but rarely to reverse that. while often heralded as reversal of long-standing jurisprudence, the supreme court's decision in the case is gathered as brown versus board of education, was in fact an extension of the courts earlier decisions. brown expanded existing law and the ship launched by charles houston 20 years earlier at last reached uncharted shores. in 1935 however, the wind blew steadily in the opposite direction. separate but equal schools and
buildings were constitutionally permissible under the supreme court's plessy versus ferguson decision. to challenge plessis to set sail into the wind would be the mission of a doomed full. so when walter white asked houston to present a plan by which the naacp could launch a sustained political campaign to end segregation, houston chartered a novel course, to defeat the law of separate but equal. you he would argue for the enforcement of separate but equal. in southern states he would argue that segregation mandates needed to be met. he was a two-man segregation surged by arguing for its promise. said he was the strategy. say they were segregating our black and white citizens. houston said, that's fine. we're not going to challenge that right now. what we will say is that you need to have these facilities need to be separate and they need to be equal.
he started in the law schools. first, houston hires 30 thurgood marshall, marshall graduated valedictorian of his class at howard law school and came to work for the naacp and they went to work on this mission of the segregating -- he segregating schools. they started in the law schools. why? because every judge has gone to law school. and the judges do not need to rely so much on an expert witness to tell them what separates one law school from another, what makes this law school better than that last goal. and they started in maryland, where thurgood marshall was born and where thurgood marshall wanted to attend law school, but could not. he infected not apply to the university of maryland law school because the university of maryland law school did not accept black students. now that he was an attorney for the naacp and working with charlie houston, mr. marshall
said we'll see about that. they filed suit on behalf of donald murray, a young student and amherst grad and the sign of a prominent baltimore family. they filed suit against the university of maryland and their cases been so hopeless by black maryland or and white folks paid no mind in maryland. and yet, no one should have to watch the case. no one except thurgood marshall's father, william, would've been there if it had been a hit and run trial. their argument was simple. the university of maryland is obligated under plessy versus ferguson to provide separate but equal law schools. the university of maryland provides the university of maryland for its white students. maryland provides no law school for its black students. they don't have one. so until maryland builds a law
school for its black students and builds an equal law school for its black students, maryland must allow its black applicants to qualify to attend the university of maryland. houston marshall assured the trial of those were not asking you to overturn plessy, we're asking you to enforce plessy versus ferguson. you have to make the separate but equal, but there is no separate school, your honor. and they put on the witnesses who agreed with the simple fact that there is a law school for students in washington? no, there's not. thank you very much. is there a law school for white students? gas. thank you. the only way was to allow the black students into the university of maryland until maryland is able to build this law school for blacks didn't. to the shock of everyone, including houston and marshall, the trial judge issued it from the bank and said you're right. there is no law school for black
students. the law is very clear and therefore mr. murray, you are admitted to the university of maryland law school. the appeals went on and went through and houston and marshall prevailed and donald murray graduated from university of maryland law school in three years at a very long and successful career in baltimore and other african-americans into the law school after that. and keep in mind, we're talking about 1936. it's truly an amazing accomplishment and an amazing development. african-americans were so excited by it, they thought that segregation was going to and in short order that charlie houston had to write an editorial in the widely read naacp newspaper. he wrote an article called, don't show tunes to, because there was so much this story and
he knew there was a long road ahead. he knew that it would be sometime before the african-americans would decide to law schools, colleges and indeed one day go to elementary school of their own choosing. so he set them a shout if you want, but don't show too soon. he knew that they need federal pressing. the maryland case was only good law in maryland. they did not go to the spring court of the united states. they needed federal precedents. and they found it in missouri two years later. boyd gaines, a very going promising and apply to the university of missouri law school. he applied to the university of missouri and they denied his application of his race and said missouri has a policy where we will contribute to your tuition at an out-of-state school because we don't allow missouri black citizens to go to the university of missouri taught
school. lloyd gaines, charles houston and thurgood marshall took on lloyd gaines's case and it made its way to the supreme court of the united states. they could finally put their strategy to the justices. there is no law school for black students. so there is no separate but equal. we don't even reach the question of equality because there is no separate. there is nothing there. there's nowhere for them to go. because this is a personal right, the 14th amendment is a personal right that each individual, each american citizen enjoys. you have to remedy it immediately. and the only way to remedy that is to allow our client, mr. gaines, to attend the university of missouri law school. the justice agreed. the 14th amendment and he should be allowed to attend the university of missouri law school. in a mysterious development,
mr. lloyd gaines disappeared into this day no one, there is no record, no family knows what happened to them. there are numerous theories about it from the day he was of course married and buried. others say he went to teach english in mexico. there are a number of rumors about it, but no one knows to this day. but finally the naacp in houston and marshall has some federal precedents that said if there is no other school for them to go to, you have to let them go here. oklahoma wasn't having that. oklahoma said we don't care what the supreme court of the united states says. we do not allow to attend the university of oklahoma law school and that's that. houston took up the case of a very young talented young woman, very gifted young woman took that case back to the supreme court. by now where of june 1948 in the supreme court is getting irritated. the "washington post" a private as the ama said the justices
inflicted a hazy upon the council, the lawyer's for the university of oklahoma, asking why does this woman have to come all the way here to go to this law school when we issued this opinion ten years ago. we told you you have to let her go and you're back you're saying no? they decided the justices of course decided you need to allow her to get into the university of oklahoma. here's what oklahoma did. he allowed her to the classroom. she had to sit in the back of the class and at a huge banner that said colored student section. she had to read at the table that was only for her that said kollar dining section and in the library there was only one table she could say that. there was the colored student section in the library. this was of noxious, but it was stepping exactly into, i do want to satrap, but it was the track
laid by houston marshall because nobody could move into the intangibles. you say okay, we have an individual, and adults in the classroom. she can hear every word said by the there. she can take all the knows she wants to take, but she's under this dinner, literally this banner, a badge saying that she is different from the other students. they decide now it's time to turn a bit into the wind and attack of the versus ferguson and save the separate cannot be equal. they get their case was an excellent plan, when george mcferrin, a 60-year-old man who wanted a phd. mr. mccord was at the university of oklahoma. now we have a 68-year-old man in a classroom of 20, 21-year-old student and he has to sit there. he went to school everyday and is sued by the way and have to sit there and he called that she merely getting to sit beneath
this banner, to have to eat at this one table at the specified time he was allowed to eat. he said it's humiliating and it's hard for me to do my work. that case, along with another case out of texas, those cases trundled forth to the supreme court and on april 4, 1950, the anniversary is coming up. april 4, 1950, the justices heard oral arguments in this time thurgood marshall asked justices to overturn plessy. he said separate cannot be equal. the justices unanimously said, you're right, mr. sweatt should be allowed to attend the university of texas. the university of oklahoma needs to take down that banner you have sitting about this man, colored student section, take that banner down. that offends the constitution. but mr. marshall, we decline to
reach the question of overturning plessy versus ferguson. were not going to overturn it. they don't say just yet, but marshall noted he said this is a decision complete with road marks. this is 1950, the path had been set. the foundation had been set and everybody knew it. in texas, in 1950, the texas legislation appropriated $3 million to build a law school for black students because the attorney general of texas said, once they defeat segregation is graduate school, they're coming for elementary schools. thurgood marshall went to the university of texas and said this is no secret. this is what i've been trying to do all this time. it was a huge rally and an integrated rally in fact. and when marshall finished speaking everyone was excited and the white student peter got up and took the microphone and thanked mr. marshall for coming
and said i have a big announcement to make. today we signed the papers and it's official we now have an naacp chapter at all what university of texas. and the whole place like crazy and no one could hear what the young man said after that. it was no secret that they were going to attack segregation. they just did it slowly and took some time. and by the time they got to the 1950's, they have the president. because what we have now is mental. how can adults sitting in the classroom, how can a state -- a state is not allowed to sit an adult in a classroom beneath a banner that says colored student section, but a state is allowed to sit thousands of children in a building across the street for colored children. you can't have both. the constitution, no logical
document and allow both. so it had been painted into a corner at this point and it took time, it took years it took plaintiffs putting their lives and livelihood to get there. finally, they have the issue squared before them. if you're not allowed to have the 68-year-old man in the same classroom where he can be set off because of his race on how can you allow thousands of children to be set off in different buildings because of the government. the court was in the corner. to close, i'd like to leave you with the thought that i was left with after spending four years researching "root and branch." and that is over the past decade or so we heard a great deal about activism and judges. the phrase has been used so
often by the right and the left at this point it's almost bereft of meeting. the judge's opinions you happen not to like. and i will admit on some occasions the course of our nation's history has been changed by activist judges. on every occasion however, every single parent, the course of our nation's history has been changed by activist citizens. and often these citizens are working with activist for years. dirty five of the 55 founding fathers were activist lawyers who gathered with their fellow citizens and were so enraged at the treatment they received, that they formed a new nation. the activist citizens like lloyd gained, like a balloon with cipro, like george mclaurin, activist citizens by the men and women who helped make this country great because they believed in their country more
than their country believed in them. and they joined with charles houston and thurgood marshall and together they defeated staggering acts. so sometimes when i hear about this activist judges i think it's giving the judges a little too much credit. the structural beauty of the legal strategy that houston marshall put in place was its false modesty, it's feigned patience. they chipped away at the doctrine of separate but equal by asking only that the doctrine of separate but equal be enforced because they knew it couldn't. the new separate could never be equal. and history, time and justice have proven them right. there is an airport now in baltimore named after thurgood marshall and there are a number
of schools named after charles hamilton houston. but the true monuments of their labor by the lies that you and i are able to lead each day. because each day that we are able to gather as we are here this evening, each day that we can come under one roof regardless of our race, regardless of our gender, regardless of our with vegan, each one of those days is both a testament and a celebration of the outstanding work and the battles fought and won by these two great americans. so, thank you. [applause] [inaudible] >> i'm sorry. >> i said who's going to take
up -- he took up the cause to desegregate. there is always a bit of discussion among folk that don't bring that up, you'll never get that. and you think well, okay. but there are efforts to bring forth legal action. in a matter of fact there is one case where five years ago a local voyeur had taken the dna of blacks have long lineage in the country that had filed the case. so, how do you see that discussion leading and? and i understand that someone told me that representative connors continues to put forth -- >> john conyers. >> yes. >> so you're referring to
reparations? as i see that going forward, the word reparations has been turned into something of a toxic word, but i see progress being made on that front in individual channels. an example of give you is the recent settlement of african-american farmers with the department of agriculture just signed as secretary of department of agriculture under president obama's administration, 1.6 ilion dollars. president bush was not moving forward on that in the new administration did move forward on that. and so no one would call that reparation. they wouldn't put that word attached to it. for what it is is a whole lot of taxpayer dollars to correct the wrongs that was inflicted upon thousands of african-american farmers over the period of years. so as i see that developing, i
see that being done and not limited, but am very discreet ways individually. so attack agriculture in this way and go after education in another way. that's how i see that progressing. and i don't think anyone will put the word reparations on it because it makes it much more difficult to move through the legislation. but yes, congressman conyers has been doing a good deal of work on nights out of michigan. >> to use the old of 40 acres and a meal. reparations is a little too sophisticated for me. the other point that is servicing us what constitutes an african-american. i mean, yesterday u.s.a. today's front page and it has come up repeatedly even when the president was running for office and he dodged questions about
mixed marriage and mixed-race and all that. so what constitutes an african-american now? if one was to pursue -- [inaudible] >> you raise a good point as far as what constitutes an african-american. mrs. teresa heinz kerry or raised a great deal of furor when she declared herself an african-american. in effect, she is african and lives in america. i see it as referring to black americans, it's an extension of afro-american which interestingly is a term that thurgood marshall refused to use until the last three or four years of his life, even through the 80's he was still referring
to -- a so-called african american negroes and insisted on calling -- if you're talking to him, referring to african-americans as negroes. i think it's an evolving question, but i think african-americans, i like the term. it's the one i use. [inaudible] >> i appreciate you talking about that. >> i have a question. talk a little bit more about the relationship between houston and marshall, which was pretty interesting. >> their relationship, they started as teacher and student. houston was the dean of howard law school and was in the process of turning the school from an academic backwater into a veritable rest point for civil rights advocacy. in and houston was a very
button-down individual, very mischievous individual, a three-piece suit kind of guy. thurgood marshall walked with a strike that was so me and that his fellow students called in turkey. and dean houston was so tough and so rigorous on his student that his students called him, not to space, called an iron shoes. so they are two very different kinds of individuals. and when they met, they immediately took to each other. in part because she was an extremely gifted lawyer and a gifted student. marshall's clustered with 36 students in only six of those graduated. houston was working very hard to howard law school at that time. marshaled by virtue of his ranking first in his class, after two years, was able to get a job working in the library. and for the first time he worked alongside houston and that's really when their relationship
took off weird marshall later, justice marshall, in his 80's would repeatedly say, everything is about the luck i learned from charlie houston. and there was something that bothered justice marshall deeply, the more people did not know about charles hamilton houston and his contributions. and he would speak up and unprompted at any given opportunity so people would know what this man did and what he sacrificed. and they also became very good friends. but it certainly was the case of opposites attract. they ended up traveling together throughout the south on road trips and working cases together, obviously working cases very successfully. but the relationship was teacher-student became mentor, mint tea and at the end became very, very close friends. and marshall was one of mr. houston pallbearers, but she
could not speak in refused to speak to the media about mr. houston for some time after houston stepped the guys he was so emotional for him. it was such an emotional event losing houston at such a young age. houston was only 54 when he passed away and i was hard for marshall. >> i heard this the statement, which really puzzles me. but then it was so clear. when they say like all the work that thurgood marshall to end all the laws that he passed and helped put together, and then somebody said, you know what, whatever he did, they summoned it up to the point that it had not beyond me backed up whatever he pushed, it would mean nothing because the people rebelled
against it. and when they told me how much military takes a part in making sure that these laws are passed because they're not the people that want to do it if not the military was there. so, tell me how ironic that it is for someone to have such a law degree and put things together and how they organize and construct only to find out that had it not been the military behind, it would have made no place. >> you bring up the next five points, that because the supreme court issued these rulings and laid out the last does not mean that people woke up one day and decided to follow. we all know that did not happen and it did take the on the 82nd airborne when president eisenhower% and to deliver
arkansas years after brown versus board of education. but his is not marshall's job. it is not the supreme court job to enforce the law. the branches of government to have the legislative, judiciary and the executive range. in the executive branch president executes the law come puts them in the fourth and makes sure that people follow them. and that's why eisenhower -- he did not want to act. he was not happy about the brown decision at all aired and in fact come in the white house press secretary refused to comment on the brown be board of education decision. the only one who refused to comment was the governor of mississippi. the president was not happy about it, but as the years went on he realized there is a great deal of rebellion in some places. and he had to execute the laws. so we did send in the military.
it was very sad. no one was happy that that had to happen. but yeah, he accused the military on united states soil to enforce the law. [inaudible] >> what does that mean when people organize thinking they're doing something right and you think the courts are defining the state or the government or whatever but when the government itself is beside you. what does that mean to particular individuals that say we won, but then again we didn't win because -- you know, it's almost like you do something significant that honors the truth in the fairness of pushing a certain agenda that will bring about some equality to a group of people. and yet, to see it's not real
because what will happen now, even now if all of a sudden the military or the army or whatnot is really holding us together from a group of people that maybe more in a position to take back whatever right that other people may have and for them -- so to me that's like i'm walking on thin ice. knowing all these so-called laws that have been put down, the only reason why they hear is because the military -- what would have been -- >> that's all we have though. the military was backing up because they are abuzz, and people follow the laws because their consequences if you break them. so i see i guess the flip sides of what you're presenting as i see it as something of a
comfort. it's a wary comfort and i understand your uneasiness about it. but at the end of the day, the law will be enforced. and that's what happened with little rock and that's what happens when they bring the police. >> now this is what i'm saying. every time someone see if that allude to loophole to get my brother, to shoot than 50 times or more to deny somebody a certain type of right, you know, then, you know, i'm saying the moral and the student carryover, didn't phase and to humanity to a degree. it's more like if somebody take a shot at you. the mac there are 300 million people in this country and some of them are not on the straight and narrow and some of them don't care what the law is.
and some of those people who don't care what the law is in the past month than having governors. and that's part of the price we pay of living in a free society. >> i had have sort of a wonky question. versus ferguson was passed well after the amendments that sort of insured for small civil rights. how much of the legal strategy for houston and hamilton was built around specifically the u.k. nature of plessy and the sort of aggressive nature of that decision that was taking rights that nominally existed here at >> plessis was the big mountain that they had to climb. they had the means by which they were going to get there, the means by which they got there with the 14th amendment which guaranteed to that note state
shall violate an that's awful paraphrasing of the 14th amendment. but the 14th amendment was almost like a climber's boots that they had to climb over plessy. plessy was the big knot in that they had to get over. and the question was, when could they go right at it? they went around and chipped away at it and expose it to the fallacy that it was. and once we exposed the fallacy of the same court, they realized in houston -- marshall wrote a letter to houston that says i think we should challenge plessis now and set forth the reasons why. and part of it is because were not going to get a court. another reason was because we had president truman in office and they said president truman will enforce what the supreme court said. and this has to be proven right, we had eisenhower took a great deal and doing for his administration to enforce the law. so the 14th amendment was the means by which they had to jump
over or tear down plessy versus ferguson. and the district of columbia they had to do the fifth amendment because of some rules washington d.c. including the taxation without representation. >> hello, thank you for coming. we appreciate it. what i would like to ask you is, today, what do you think is the state of our judiciary today? naacp and other civil rights organizations are still fighting hard for all minorities on all fronts. so whether where do you think we stand today? >> part of it is my being a lawyer, but that's how i determined to fight a senator i lived in washington d.c., so i don't. it's how i determine my presidential votes is based on judges because the judges article iii federal judges are appointed for life.
and i think the state of the judiciary right now is it's hard to know if -- it's hard to change it from a right to left or even from left to right because everything stops in the senate. so it's a political issue of confirmation. i think there's been a great deal of progress made in judiciary. so much of the time of thurgood marshall was nominated by lyndon johnson. by the time he was nominated by john f. kennedy to be a federal appellate judge here in new york and the second circuit court of appeals. by then, in and a short period of time, a senator could not just on the floor and say we can't have a being the appellate judge for the second circuit. so they picked other means 70 fusions by which they wanted to attack and in semi-legitimate disagreements with the way he would likely interpret the law and other didn't like him
because he was a civil rights lawyer and they didn't like the civil rights. as far as i see the judiciary as it is constantly evolving, but it was very, very slowly. but once someone is there, that man or woman is on the bench and the federal court there on the bench for life. so it's very important in its priority for any president democrat or republican, it's a party for them. and i think president bush did an outstanding job of shaping the federal judiciary to what he wanted it to be and what his constituents wanted the court to represent. he did an outstanding job of that. she had very few roadblocks along the way. and i think it's a model that presidents can emulate. >> hopefully. the >> hopefully. >> i'd like to thank hue-man
bookstore for having me into allowing me to come out and talk about this. [applause] >> mr. speaker, on this historic day the house of representatives opens its preceding for the first time two televised coverage. >> thirty-one years ago america's cable companies created c-span as a public service. today we've expanded your access to politics and public affairs, nonfiction books and american history through multiple platform, television, radio and online, and cable television's latest gift, an extensive free video archive. c-span video library. [inaudible conversations]
>> we're here at the conservative political action conference talking with david pitchers out about his new book silent cal's almanac. >> the book is about our most violent president who is actually very quotable. and what he did was to compress the wisdom of the conservatives on an americanism into a few well-chosen words, primarily talking about something significant to this day, the importance of low marginal tax rates for creating investments, prosperity, for making the american system work for the average american because when he was in vermont, he saw how his father go around and collect tax money from people. he realized he can for ordinary people for the sweat of their brow and it should be collected wisely and no more than without fully necessary. taxation access of what was necessary was fast. >> how long did it take you to eventually gather all of this
hummed him with them? >> without full-time project, it was something i did in my spare time. collected it over the years, but throughout the speeches. oddly enough, we would be surprises, the people would buy collections of his speeches in the 1920's. they were issued one after another. they were very popular. so doing the research was fairly easy and then assembling them and publishing them in this book, but also leading introductory essays like why calvin coolidge the people would be mystified by this topic and talking a biographical issue. and then there were a lot of anecdotes about ten, which were pretty amusing which people always like to tell. to wit through that and. and also appendices or is not your letraset, his assays in massachusetts for people to get a full flavor of what the coolidge intellect and powers of persuasion would like. because he rose all the way from mayor, state senator,
representative, lieutenant governor, governor, vice president, president. he held more like the novices than anyone else in american history. he worked as a up the wrong which is the way you're supposed to do it and you never do it. >> you seem to have a lot of passion about the subject. is there another project on the horizon for you? >> well, i'm working on a book about the 1948 presidential election. i've done 1920 and 1960 previously. 1948 is that the publisher now. true man, do wallace and strom thurmond. so most people will say that the truman dewey election, but i think it's really a dual of long standing between the wallace, henry wallace and the truman wing of the democratic party and about america and the cold war, about domestic communism, about foreign policy abroad. and it's also the year where the civil rights movement really gets a big boost.
truman is fighting against wallace. he's got to get the black vote and you've got the south recoiling from out with third-party and breaking with the democratic arty. so there's an awful lot happening that year. >> is cool is your favorite president or politician to write about? >> well, to write about, certainly. but also a big fan of ronald reagan and kind of grew up loving him from 1964 on and was there all the way to his inauguration come his funeral, when he launched his campaign at liberty island in new jersey. and by god, i love that man. >> so is there a reagan book on the horizon? >> well, so many people have done it, so many people with greater qualifications. the field is pretty crowded, but i wouldn't mind doing it. i wouldn't mind at all. it would be very enjoyable because along the way i written about a blooded scoundrels and i would like to read about a man i admire a great deal. >> what are you reading these days? >> well, actually what i tend to
read are not books about history, the books about 1920's and 1930's show business and entertainment because after a while a lot of the research and is your reading parts of books, reading newspaper articles i'm reading microfilm and so for fun, you kind of turn it off and do you go back and you are reading a biography of moss hart or dw griffiths or the silent films. and i find that fascinating. i don't know if there's a book there, but maybe. you never know, you never know. >> thank you for your time. we appreciate it. [inaudible conversations] >> here's a look at some upcoming book fairs and festivals over the next few months